QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Moda's Baltimore Blues

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cranberry Collection: Thinking Red and Green

Cranberries and Cardinals by Jean Stanclift, 
Quilted by Lori Kukuk
24" Block

Jean found a well-worn masterpiece in an antique store and decided to preserve the quilt by copying it in updated fabrics. Several years ago we featured it on the cover of a holiday applique book from our Sunflower Pattern Co-operative.

Cranberries and Cardinals by Jean Stanclift
82" x 82" 
The design is unique, but we're familiar with the dramatic bloom bursting from the urn. It's often called Coxcombs. Are those delicate berries holly or cranberries, cherries or currants?

Coxcombs grow in all varieties.
Here are three vintage designs from about 1870-1900.

From an old Quilt Engagement Calendar, a West
Virginia quilt from Stella Rubin

“Christmas colors” is a rather modern idea, but we often look to these quilts for our Christmas inspiration. Nineteenth-century quiltmakers loved the palette we think of as Christmas colors. Their best applique quilts were usually made of red and green with a touch of gold for accent, although seasonal celebration was not a factor in their choices. Why they chose those shades is somewhat mysterious. Other dyes were just as color-fast, and the roses, tulips and coxcombs they depicted certainly blossomed in other shades. 

Abiding Joy by Karla Menaugh
90" x 90" Quilted by Lori Kukuk,

Karla's inspiration was also an antique quilt from about 1840-1865. 

The berries fit the block so gracefully.

This block was popular too. Names include Cockscombs and Currants, Poinsettia or Flowering Almond.

A more common version of the Poinsettia.

Looking for an applique challenge? Both patterns are featured in our booklet Cranberry Collection:
Quilts For Christmas or Any Season. It's out of print but you can find our last copies at my Etsy store.


Laura Lane said...

The New England Quilt Museum currently has an exhibit of 20 Red and Green Quilts from the museum's collection on display. The exhibit features 19th century red and green applique quilts but also includes a few more contemporary quilts in red and green. They will be on display through February 20, 2016.

Laura P. Lane
Collections Manager
New England Quilt Museum

Barbara Brackman said...

Thanks Laura